It was reported last week that the fox attacked three people in the vicinity of Snyder Road and county Route 15. Those who were exposed are receiving post-contact rabies treatments.
Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang said that any encounters with a potentially rabid animal must be investigated as soon as possible to determine if a person or domestic pet may have been exposed to the rabies virus. Treatment begun before symptoms occur can prevent rabies from developing in exposed humans.
"Our staff is available around the clock to respond to such incidents," said Huang.
To report a possible exposure, call the Health Department weekdays at 315-349-3564. In an emergency during evenings, weekends, or holidays, call the department’s answering service at 315-341-0086.
Residents are reminded not to disturb wild animals, and pet owners need to make sure their pets are protected against rabies, to avoid getting the virus. New York State Public Health Law requires that all dogs, cats, and ferrets be vaccinated against rabies.
"The Oswego County Health Department holds immunization clinics throughout the year to help meet this need in the community," said Huang. "I encourage residents to take advantage of these clinics and get their pets vaccinated."
Rabies clinics continue at the following locations this year:
• West Monroe: Wednesday, June 6, 6 to 8 p.m., Town Highway Garage, 46 County Rte. 11.
• Hannibal: Wednesday, July 11, 6 to 8 p.m., Town Highway Garage, 68 Cemetery Drive.
• Volney: Wednesday, Aug. 8, 6 to 8 p.m., Bristol Hill Landfill maintenance building, 3125 NYS Rte. 3.
• Pulaski: Wednesday, Sept. 12, 6 to 8 p.m., County Highway Garage, 957 Centerville Road.
• Scriba: Wednesday, Nov. 7, 6 to 8 p.m., County Highway Garage, 31 Schaad Drive.
Dogs, cats and ferrets should receive their first rabies vaccine at three months of age. Ferrets must be vaccinated annually. Dogs and cats require a second vaccination within one year of the first, and every three years thereafter. In order for pets to receive the three-year booster shot, owners need to show that their pet was previously vaccinated. Owners should bring their pet’s last rabies vaccination certificate with them to the clinic.
The health department suggests a $7 donation per animal to help cover the cost of the rabies clinics, but no one will be turned away. Dogs should be leashed. Cats and pet ferrets should be in a carrier. Please leave sick pets at home.
To reduce the risk of rabies in animals and humans, people should take the following steps:
• Do not feed pets outdoors.
• Never try to feed a wild animal.
• Do not approach or touch unfamiliar animals.
• Avoid any animal with symptoms of rabies.
• Block any openings into the home that an animal may get through.
• Keep tamper-proof lids on outside garbage cans so animals are not attracted to your property.
• Teach children basic rules about protecting themselves from strange and unfamiliar animals.
For more information on rabies, visit www.oswegocounty.com/health/rabies.pdf or www.cdc.gov/rabies.